Depressed teen(8 Posts)
Hi all, I'm new to this site, just hoping for some support and advice. My 13 year old has changed drastically in the last 12 months, at first I put it down to normal teen angst but it now appears to be deeper than that and she seems to be properly depressed. She's lost all confidence, hates school with a passion, although she insists there is no bullying issue, however her friendships are suffering and she never socialises anymore, preferring to shut herself off on the internet and speak to online friends. I have had a lot of contact and support from school although every morning is still a struggle to get her to attend and her attendance is now very low. we have been to the doctors and referred her to CAMHS and I have even ended my 18 month relationship as it was fairly turbulent and he was completely misunderstanding of this situation which I believed was making things worse. I feel so helpless.
I am so sorry you are both going through this. You have my sympathy. My DD has anxiety/depression and it is tough. I have a few suggestions for what works for us - some may hit the mark and others won't. The approach via the doc and CAHMS can be a little slow so in the meantime I would suggest you and your DD take some proactive actions too. Her hormones will be bouncing around so stabilising those as much as possible will help. You could try a good multi-vitamin, Evening Primrose oil, and Teensense Omega Oil. My DD is 16 now so she also takes Kira St John's Wort Low Mood, but you may need to further advice on that as it has interactions with anti-depressants and birth control. I would look at foods that increase serotonin also (Google as there is quite a few). Forgive me if I am telling you stuff you already know, but it is worth making sure she gets really balanced meals at regular times. I find my kids' blood-sugar bounces around and it is just like when they were toddlers, if they don't eat on time their mood gets much worse. And protein at each meal also stabilizes blood sugar. Exercise and being outdoors helps so maybe getting out somewhere with her - gym, swim, walk? Also there are some good books out there. I bought my DD a workbook for teens with depression. Also there are teen depression support groups and helplines (I didn't use them but sure someone can advise you here).
I don't have advice about school attendance but I know for myself that isolating is a circular part of depression and if there is a way of limiting her online time and encouraging her out into the world via an interest of hers that might help. My DD didn't want to join or do anything, so I took her out to town to mooch around and have a cup of tea. Just that much of being part of the world seemed to help her.
I think doing anything to fight back at the depression helps you feel more empowered and less helpless. It helped to talk to my daughter about the depression as a 'thing' and not as part of her. It is a bit weird but we call it the 'gremlin on her shoulder'. That way we could talk about how the gremlin was getting her down and then we could find ways to get it gone. Even when she couldn't/can't get it gone, at least it isn't her. I hope this makes sense.
Good luck. You will get good advice and support here. There are people who have experienced this and will be able to walk with you through it.
Wishing you and your DD strength
Many thanks beelights I found your support and suggestions very positive and I shall definitely be looking into the supplements you mentioned. How long has your daughter suffered? I really hope she is on the up and that 'gremlin' is losing its hold over her.
Well, when I look back I think I saw traces of it in her from very early. It took hold when she was about 11 and we had the GP refer her to a service (can't remember its name now, but they did home visits, kind of like a triage service for CAMHS). She didn't find that much use, but we did find a brilliant homeopath who just listened to her and helped her talk about it. I think in the end the homeopathic remedy was more of a placebo but they worked as a way my daughter could take some control back (she could decide when to take the remedies). She then has had episodes of anxiety, panic attacks and depression off and on but the arrival of teenage hormones and growth made her much more volatile. The worst bit (so far, fingers crossed) has been 13 - 16. The last episode she had became very dark and she was talking about having 'bad thoughts'. I just re-trenched and got her into a very strict routine of lots of sleep, steady mealtimes, keeping an eye on her energy levels etc, cutting out as much junk as we could. We developed a routine for watching a particular tv series together (we've got through many boxsets). When it gets too much she takes a day off school to just sleep. In the last month or so I have seen her stabilising. I forgot to say, she also has iron supplements in the form of Floradix tablets. It took a while for her to get in the routine of taking the vitamins and supplements but both the school and I have seen a big difference in her. I'm not sure what it is that has helped most. She always refused counselling and any school intervention.
As I have said on other posts, we have our other issues (sibling rivalry with twins, homework...) but I would tentatively say, that things seem to be improving for her as her body and mind settles a little...
Thanks beelights, I have found your messages really comforting, maybe through the fact we're not alone in this and also in your pro-active approach to helping your daughter. I really do hope things continue to improve for you both. Thanks again for providing comfort and support xx
Sorry you and your DD are having such a difficult time. You have done the right thing if you are concerned she is depressed. Depression is an illness, and help and support is available, but you may have to push Camhs to get it quickly . Knowing it is an illness from which people can recover, is helpful for young people to understand.
You do describe a turbulent home situation (now over ), so a Camhs assessment with a psychotherapist/psychiatrist specialising in adolescents is valuable to get a perspective on how severe her depression is and maybe its root (although at this young age it can be a complicated combination of reasons) and work out the best way forward
As beelight suggests,make sure she is eating well, resting etc. I agree with encouraging her offline a bit more. My DD used to calm herself by keeping a handwritten diary, having candlelit baths, reading and listening to music, when she couldn't cope with going for walks etc..
There is not a lot of support out there, I'm afraid. Young Minds website is useful for both you and her, and they do offer parent callback services from trained professionals which can be helpful . Also,if she has started to struggle at school, it may be worth considering a WISC 4 assessment by an ed psych,as at this age some bright teens reveal learning difficulties, like dyslexia or memory processing issues, which can contribute to low mood if not spotted and supported.
Best of luck to both of you.
Is there a local counselling services that your dd could be seen by. Some teenagers go to their school service but they may feel more comfortable going to a service outside school and there are quite a few voluntary groups around, you would have an hour session at a very reduced rate, for a long period of time. This may be really useful over a long period of time. Don't see it as a quick fix but something that can help over a long period of time to build her confidence, and start to see life in a different way.
I really hope that things begin to get better for you wonderful DD.
Thanks anthropolgy and daisysue, I have managed to get DD into a local counselling service for young adults, there is a long waiting list but we've just been offered an appointment so I am hopeful they will be able to help over time.
We attended an options evening at school last night, DD did really well and the best part was hearing her giggle with her friend!!
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